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Russia’s advanced Kornet anti-tank missile system can penetrate any armor, says expert

Kornet missiles possess both the option to attack a target by a paired launch and tandem-charge warheads that strike explosive-reactive armor and pierce various add-on armor plates
Kornet anti-tank missile system Sergei Malgavko/TASS
Kornet anti-tank missile system
© Sergei Malgavko/TASS

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. The Russian Kornet anti-tank missile system is capable of piercing any smart active protection system of armor with a paired launch of missiles, Editor-in-Chief of Independent Military Review Dmitry Litovkin told TASS on Wednesday.

"It was pointed out that the Kornet self-propelled anti-tank missile systems can fire in tandem mode, specifically, two missiles can be launched at a time within a single command and control field to pierce the enemy armor’s active protection system. Both missiles thus launched follow each other in a single laser beam with a short interval, which helps deceive the armor’s smart protection systems, such as the Israeli Iron Fist developed by IMI," the expert said.

This system operates by firing a cluster of striking elements towards an incoming missile detected by its radar sensor to destroy the attacking element. However, this protection may fail against the Kornet as the second missile will accurately hit the target, even if the first projectile is destroyed, the expert explained.

Various aerosols and smokes are also used to protect the armor, the expert pointed out. "However, this does not significantly reduce the efficiency of the smart Kornet missile," Litovkin said.

"Even if a smoke screen emerges all of a sudden while a missile approaches a target, the missile does not lose control and continues moving along the original flight path. Considering the missile’s velocity, the target will most likely have no time to change its position and will be wiped out, in spite of the smoke," the expert stressed.

Tandem-charge munition

Kornet missiles possess both the option to attack a target by a paired launch and tandem-charge warheads that strike explosive-reactive armor and pierce various add-on armor plates, he said.

"Importantly, the missile has a tandem-charge high-explosive warhead. This means that two charges explode in an attack. The first lead charge removes the target’s reactive armor while the follow-up charge directly wipes it out," the expert specified.

Add-on armor plates are frequently used to protect against such munitions, Litovkin noted.

"While experts say that slat armor protects against standard high-explosive munitions, it is less effective against tandem-charge high-explosive munitions similar to those employed by the Kornet," the military expert pointed out.

Kornet anti-tank missile system

The Kornet anti-tank missile system is designated to strike tanks and other armored targets, including vehicles outfitted with advanced reactive armor and active protection systems. The missile is directed by a laser beam. The Kornet anti-tank missile system’s firing range has been extended to 8 km whereas its previous versions have an engagement range of 5.5 km.

Deputy CEO of the High Precision Weapons Company (part of the state tech corporation Rostec) Sergey Mikhailov said in early December that the Kornet-EM anti-tank missile system can be adapted to any type of chassis. In its baseline modification, the Kornet-EM is mounted on two telescopic masts that carry four missiles each, he said.

The Kornet is also popular among foreign customers. Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told TASS at the Army 2021 international arms show on August 23 that Russia had received several requests on the potential delivery of self-propelled Kornet-EM systems based on the Tigr armored vehicles to foreign customers.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on November 25 following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi that the first batch of Russian-made Kornet missile launchers would be delivered to Serbia by the end of this year.